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Reflection of a pulse from fixed and free ends (not in caps - included for completeness)

Let us now consider what happens to a pulse when it reaches the end of a medium. The medium can be fixed, like a rope tied to a wall, or it can be free, like a rope tied loosely to a pole.

Reflection of a pulse from a fixed end

Investigation : reflection of a pulse from a fixed end

Tie a rope to a wall or some other object that cannot move. Create a pulse in the rope by flicking one end up and down. Observe what happens to the pulse when it reaches the wall.

Reflection of a pulse from a fixed end.

When the end of the medium is fixed, for example a rope tied to a wall, a pulse reflects from the fixed end, but the pulse is inverted (i.e. it is upside-down). This is shown in [link] .

Reflection of a pulse from a free end

Investigation : reflection of a pulse from a free end

Tie a rope to a pole in such a way that the rope can move up and down the pole. Create a pulse in the rope by flicking one end up and down. Observe what happens to the pulse when it reaches the pole.

When the end of the medium is free, for example a rope tied loosely to a pole, a pulse reflects from the free end, but the pulse is not inverted . This is shown in [link] . We draw the free end as a ring around the pole. The ring will move up and down the pole, while the pulse is reflected away from the pole.

Reflection of a pulse from a free end.
The fixed and free ends that were discussed in this section are examples of boundary conditions . You will see more of boundary conditions as you progress in the Physics syllabus.

Pulses at a boundary ii

  1. A rope is tied to a tree and a single pulse is generated. What happens to the pulse as it reaches the tree? Draw a diagram to explain what happens.
  2. A rope is tied to a ring that is loosely fitted around a pole. A single pulse is sent along the rope. What will happen to the pulse as it reaches the pole? Draw a diagram to explain your answer.

The following simulation will help you understand the previous examples. Choose pulse from the options (either manual, oscillate or pulse). Then click on pulse and see what happens. Change from a fixed to a free end and see what happens. Try varying the width, amplitude, damping and tension.

Phet simulation for transverse pulses

Summary

  • A medium is the substance or material in which a wave will move
  • A pulse is a single disturbance that moves through a medium
  • The amplitude of a pules is a measurement of how far the medium is displaced from rest
  • Pulse speed is the distance a pulse travels per unit time
  • Constructive interference is when two pulses meet and result in a bigger pulse
  • Destructive interference is when two pulses meet and and result in a smaller pulse
  • We can draw graphs to show the motion of a particle in the medium or to show the motion of a pulse through the medium
  • When a pulse moves from a thin rope to a thick rope, the speed and pulse length decrease. The pulse will be reflected and inverted in the thin rope. The reflected pulse has the same length and speed, but a different amplitude
  • When a pulse moves from a thick rope to a thin rope, the speed and pulse length increase. The pulse will be reflected in the thick rope. The reflected pulse has the same length and speed, but a different amplitude
  • A pulse reaching a free end will be reflected but not inverted. A pulse reaching a fixed end will be reflected and inverted

Exercises - transverse pulses

  1. A heavy rope is flicked upwards, creating a single pulse in the rope. Make a drawing of the rope and indicate the following in your drawing:
    1. The direction of motion of the pulse
    2. Amplitude
    3. Pulse length
    4. Position of rest
  2. A pulse has a speed of 2,5 m · s - 1 . How far will it have travelled in 6 s ?
  3. A pulse covers a distance of 75 cm in 2,5 s . What is the speed of the pulse?
  4. How long does it take a pulse to cover a distance of 200 mm if its speed is 4 m · s - 1 ?
  5. The following position-time graph for a pulse in a slinky spring is given. Draw an accurate sketch graph of the velocity of the pulse against time.
  6. The following velocity-time graph for a particle in a medium is given. Draw an accurate sketch graph of the position of the particle vs. time.
  7. Describe what happens to a pulse in a slinky spring when:
    1. the slinky spring is tied to a wall.
    2. the slinky spring is loose, i.e. not tied to a wall.
    (Draw diagrams to explain your answers.)
  8. The following diagrams each show two approaching pulses. Redraw the diagrams to show what type of interference takes place, and label the type of interference.
  9. Two pulses, A and B, of identical shape and amplitude are simultaneously generated in two identical wires of equal mass and length. Wire A is, however, pulled tighter than wire B. Which pulse will arrive at the other end first, or will they both arrive at the same time?

Questions & Answers

how can chip be made from sand
Eke Reply
are nano particles real
Missy Reply
yeah
Joseph
Hello, if I study Physics teacher in bachelor, can I study Nanotechnology in master?
Lale Reply
no can't
Lohitha
where we get a research paper on Nano chemistry....?
Maira Reply
nanopartical of organic/inorganic / physical chemistry , pdf / thesis / review
Ali
what are the products of Nano chemistry?
Maira Reply
There are lots of products of nano chemistry... Like nano coatings.....carbon fiber.. And lots of others..
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Even nanotechnology is pretty much all about chemistry... Its the chemistry on quantum or atomic level
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da
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Preparation and Applications of Nanomaterial for Drug Delivery
Hafiz Reply
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Application of nanotechnology in medicine
has a lot of application modern world
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yes
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ya I also want to know the raman spectra
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I only see partial conversation and what's the question here!
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what about nanotechnology for water purification
RAW Reply
please someone correct me if I'm wrong but I think one can use nanoparticles, specially silver nanoparticles for water treatment.
Damian
yes that's correct
Professor
I think
Professor
Nasa has use it in the 60's, copper as water purification in the moon travel.
Alexandre
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Alexandre
what is the stm
Brian Reply
is there industrial application of fullrenes. What is the method to prepare fullrene on large scale.?
Rafiq
industrial application...? mmm I think on the medical side as drug carrier, but you should go deeper on your research, I may be wrong
Damian
How we are making nano material?
LITNING Reply
what is a peer
LITNING Reply
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
LITNING Reply
What is STMs full form?
LITNING
scanning tunneling microscope
Sahil
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Do u think that Graphene and Fullrene fiber can be used to make Air Plane body structure the lightest and strongest. Rafiq
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Any one who tell me about Preparation and application of Nanomaterial for drug Delivery
Hafiz
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Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
Bob
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
brayan
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Damian
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Source:  OpenStax, Physics - grade 10 [caps 2011]. OpenStax CNX. Jun 14, 2011 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11298/1.3
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